As we prepare for the June Intensive Teacher Training at goodyoga, I have been thinking a lot about my reasons for taking the plunge myself. Thinking back to 2011, I was newly single, still recovering from an emotional roller coaster, and found that my yoga practice was the only thing into which I could truly escape.

I was taking class one hot, sweaty evening and the teacher approached me after savasana and said, “Are you a teacher? Because you really, really should be. Why don’t you do our teacher training?”

He was the most successful marketing campaign in the history of marketing campaigns. Two days later, I put down the couple grand and reserved my spot, one of 30 people in our summer 200-hour training.

We were a mix of people from all over the world: Canada, France, Sweden, South Africa and the U.S. Some wanted to be teachers, some wanted to use yoga in other vocations, and some just wanted to have fun and meet a group of like-minded people and dive deeper into their own practice. Of the 30-some people that graduated, I think a handful are actively pursuing a yoga career. Even I wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach after graduation. And that is the coolest thing about it.

A 200-hour does not necessarily make a teacher (ask ANY teacher who is teaching how ready they felt after their first training). And that is just absolutely fine. Yes, you might be able to lead a student safely in a sequence post-graduation, but most really only feel super comfortable teaching after additional education or a 300-Hour Advanced Program.

But, I would argue that that’s only a small part of what the truest and fullest intentions of a 200-hour should be and usually are.

Svadhyaya or Self-Study is one of the 5 Niyamas that comprise the second limb of the eight-limbed path of raja yoga. It is an introspective look at a person’s own inner reading. It asks that we examine our connection to our physical body, our mind, habits, and investment in self-love. In this exploration, we can each become more familiar with the idea of our truest nature and our greatest potential.

A teacher training is exactly this: self-study surrounded by a bunch of people with the same level of compassion and dedication to the practice as you. And because it’s a training that requires accountability, reading, study, etc., the seriousness with which you approach the material is much more rooted than at perhaps, a retreat.

What a teacher training is NOT is a definitive path towards a career change or a stable income, or a guarantee that you will effectively be able to teach yoga. Because, frankly, that takes YEARS… and a lot more than 200 hours of training.

Consider your intentions and reasons for wanting to do a teacher training. You likely have been taking yoga classes for awhile and you’re at a point where you want to learn more. You love yoga and it inspires you to the core. Those are reasons enough for me. So, don’t let the word “teacher” send you running. You have plenty to learn and plenty to love in a teacher training, and none of it requires for you to ever teach.